An unlikely figure is surfacing in a federal lawsuit that accuses House Speaker Mike Madigan of winning elections by recruiting “sham” candidates to dilute the opposition vote:
Cicero Town President Larry Dominick.
And it apparently hasn’t been easy for unsuccessful Madigan primary challenger Jason Gonzales to pull Dominick into the heated case.
According to a motion filed Thursday, a man who tried to deliver a subpoena to get Dominick to sit for a deposition said he wound up being arrested by Cicero Police and left shivering in a room with the air conditioning cranked up — after he had been forced to remove his shirt.
Gonzales contends one of the “sham” candidates Madigan recruited has ties to Cicero politics.
The process server said he began the effort days earlier by walking into the offices of the Cicero Town president, only to be told Dominick only shows up “once in a blue moon.”
A secretary allegedly told him that day last week that Dominick is “basically retired.”
So the private process server hired by Anthony J. Peraica & Associates went looking for Dominick’s home. Two days later, still on the hunt, he said he found himself surrounded by seven Cicero cops and under arrest.
Now, the process server claims his “real offense” was trying to serve Dominick and another town employee. And Peraica’s firm wants a judge to send the U.S. marshals to deliver the deposition subpoena to Dominick, hoping to depose him in a case filed by Gonzales, a former primary challenger to Madigan.
Gonzales claims in the federal suit that Madigan put up two “sham” candidates with Hispanic names to try to split the Hispanic vote in the March 2016 primary.
Madigan beat Gonzales, 65.2 percent to 27.1 percent. The other two primary candidates received a combined 7.8 percent.
Peraica is also hoping to uncover whether Madigan used campaign funds under his control to alert voters to Gonzales’ criminal history, which had been expunged.
Gonzales’ attorneys are investigating connections between one of the candidates in question, and political operatives in the town of Cicero. Cicero spokesman Ray Hanania was initially a defendant in the case, but a judge dismissed him from the case.
The process server, William Rivera, said in an affidavit filed Thursday that the Cicero police accused him of stealing a package. He acknowledged he picked up a package at a home to examine its address label to determine if it had been addressed to Dominick. But he said he “put the box where I found it and left the premises.”
Rivera said he had also been looking for Ruth Ortega, another town employee. After being stopped at 59th and Pershing Road in Stickney by the Cicero police — where one of the officers remarked that he was friends with Ortega — the officers told him his subpoenas were not “real” because they did not have a stamped impression from the Circuit Court of Cook County.
The subpoenas came from the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.
Once at the Cicero police station, Rivera said he was forced to take off a sweatshirt and left in a room where the air conditioning had been turned on high for hours. He claimed he wound up wrapping toilet paper around his chest after he began to shiver. And when he told the officers he was diabetic, they allegedly ignored him.
“Around 11:20 p.m., I fell to the floor with uncontrollable trembling,” Rivera wrote. “An officer checked on me and laughed, saying that I was lying about being diabetic. He warned me that I could be kept in the cell for up to 72 hours if the police wanted to do so.”
Eventually, Rivera said the officers let him use the phone to call his “parents.” He said he instead called Peraica’s firm, which secured his release.
But when a Cicero officer realized what Rivera had done, the officer allegedly told him he “should not have done that.”
Dominick’s spokesman dismissed the allegations of police mistreatment and false arrest, saying “this is typical Tony Peraica.”
The spokesman, Hanania, wrote in an email to the Sun-Times that Rivera was “harassing several Town employees,” including Dominick’s son. He also alleges Rivera went to the home of a Cicero employee and was seen by a neighbor walking away with a package on the front steps. When confronted, Rivera allegedly told a neighbor he wanted to deliver a package to Dominick.
Hanania said Rivera allegedly admitted to police that he stole the package, which was a duffel bag that police later recovered from Rivera’s wife.
Madigan spokesman Steve Brown said he was unaware of the allegations.
“I don’t know anything about it,” Brown said. “I don’t know about Larry Dominick.”
Gonzales’ attorneys are also seeking the release of the “Homer Report” — written by former Legislative Inspector General Thomas Homer — which allegedly details Madigan’s influence over hiring at Metra. Madigan’s attorneys in May asked the judge to reject the request, saying the plaintiff was only seeking “to gather unduly prejudicial information regarding Mr. Madigan,” while arguing the report has nothing to do with the case.
Madigan’s spokesman in 2014 told the Sun-Times the House speaker asked Homer to investigate the matter and the speaker cooperated fully: “The Legislative Inspector General has found no violation of any law, including the Illinois State Officials and Employees Ethics Act,” Brown said then.